The following is a poem which was found in the possessions
of Thomas Samuel Austin by his son Ianthe Exall:
Have you ever heard of the “Warspite” and how she made
How she smashed the German Army near the wide Catania
The Herman Goering Regiment was badly mauled that day,
When the “Warspite” used her 15”, for the Eight she
cleared the way.
Then came the day of invasion, the 5th.on
Battled with desperation, their object nearly foiled,
By “Tiger Tanks” and Pancers, who were waiting, so it
When into the Bay of Salerno, the “Warspite” slowly
She swung around and waited until she got in range,
Then with a noise like thunder, her 15” spoke again.
We had our own observer, a captain of Royal Marines,
And he shouted with glee, only he could see
How the tide of the battle had changed.
There were tanks and troops together smashed up like they
never had been,
More terrible wreckage and carnage never before had been
General Clark of the gallant 5th. Army, there
on the field
Thanked the ”Old Lady” in a signal, for the lives of
his men she’d redeemed.
Then she did another bombardment at a standstill, to make
her aim sure,
And the fall of the shell was perfect, no guns aim had
ever been truer.
It must have been ‘hell’ for the Germans, as the
shrapnel just blew them away,
Then a bomb came down from the heavens, it was 2000lbs.
And smashed right down by the funnel, we were only two
miles from the shore.
Right down through her decks it travelled, a rocket bomb
was its name,
We lost some good chums, all good shipmates, Hard luck, it
was War it’s no game.
She shuddered and lurched as it struck her, for a minute
she couldn’t be seen
As the debris shot up towards heaven, closely followed by
white scalding steam.
We all thought the “Old Lady” was finished, a true
blood, she proved it that day,
As the tugs raced out to her rescue, she lurched up again,
to her keel.
Under tow she set out for Malta, for six days and nights
at 4 knots,
And the lads did plenty of thinking, especially the
wounded in cots,
T’was a nerve wracking strain for the lads there, true
Britons they stuck to their guns,
And the engine room branch worked like Trojans, all
spattered in oil, twas no fun.
Down thro the Straits of Messina, the “Old Lady” made
We were all sure then that she’d make it,
That she’d live to fight on another day.
It’s all over now, we’re not sorry, to our homes
we’re now on our way,
But I’ll always be proud of the “Warspite” , God Bless
her, she once won the day.